Day 29 of our 50 day countdown of Coronation Street - written by blogger Sunny Jim.
When her mother Pat was killed in a car accident, papergirl Jenny Bradley was taken in by her boss Rita Fairclough. Her father Alan was traced and reintroduced to his daughter after an absence of six years and took an instant liking to her foster mother. Initially Jenny felt only bitterness towards her father, but slowly over a period of weeks, with the help of Rita, he won her over. The courtship between Rita and Alan blossomed, but Alan was never sure of her feelings towards him and he started an affair with barmaid Gloria Todd.
When Rita found out about Alan's secret love, she gave him an ultimatum. Initially, he decided to stick with Gloria, but after he reappraised the financial situation he went back to Rita. When Alan went to the Middle East to work, Rita stayed behind and looked after Jenny, fast becoming a surrogate mother. On his returned, Alan proposed to Rita and she turned him down, but invited him to move in to No7 with her and Jenny, 'over the brush'.
The relationship soon started to fall apart, with Rita becoming ever more cold towards Alan and eventually, he left her for housewife Carole Burns. Rita was devastated and longed for him to return, which he did after 6 weeks after he tired of the physical side of the relationship and a bank had refused him a loan to set up a business, Carole having no money. Rita welcomed him back with open arms, unaware of his real motives for returning. Alan stole the deeds to No7 and calling himself Len Fairclough, obtained a mortgage for £15000 so that he could set up his security firm. Rita was proud of the new offices on Rosamund Street, little knowing that she was financing them and for a while at least, the couple seemed happy.
Things were not to remain calm for long however. Alan tried to rape his receptionist Dawn Prescott and she went straight to Rita and spilled the beans about the source of Alan's funding. At first she refused to believe the story, but she broke in to the office and found letters addressed to Len in Alan's files. Whilst Jenny was out celebrating her eighteenth birthday, Rita confronted Alan with what she had found and told him that she wanted to see him ruined. He pounced on her, beat her about the room and then tried to suffocate her with a cushion. Jenny arrived in the nick of time to pull her father off Rita and he disappeared out into the night.
The police eventually caught up with Alan and at the last moment, he changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to two years imprisonment, but walked free from the court after his time on remand had been taken into consideration. With revenge in his heart, he took a job on the building site opposite No. 7 so that he could keep an eye on Rita and torment her. Unable to take the constant proximity of the man who had tried to kill her, Rita disappeared without a trace. The locals were convinced that Alan had done away with her and the police dug up the building site looking for her body.
On an overnight trip to Blackpool so that Alec Gilroy could check out some acts, he and Bet Lynch discovered "Rita Littlewood" singing in a hotel owned by an old mate of Alec's. Bet and Alec found Rita in a terrible state, seemingly having blotted out the last 15 years. Bet stayed in Blackpool to comfort her only to lose her again, while Alec returned to Weatherfield and in a state of guilt over having suspected Alan of killing Rita, told him where she was. Intent on getting Rita to return and clear his name, Alan went to Blackpool where he came across her on the street outside her hotel. He bustled her into the car, but she managed to escape and ran across the road narrowly missing a tram. Alan was not so lucky and was killed instantly, his crumpled body lying on the promenade as Bet consoled a distraught Rita.
Also in 1989: Friday episode introduced; Brian Tilsley murdered; Factory and Community Centre demolished to make way for shops and houses; McDonald family arrives; Reg Holdsworth makes first appearance; Gail starts seeing Martin Platt; Curly & Shirley split up; Curly gets job as trainee assistant manager at Bettabuy; Kevin becomes head mechanic at garage; Vera gets stone cladding; Alma divorces Jim and gets café as settlement; Deirdre throws Ken out after his affair with Wendy Crozier; Jack holds his glasses together with a plaster for the next twenty years.